The 'X' factor

The work of Scully and Mulder remains influential. Six Flms being released this season exhibit shades of 'The X Files.'

Los Angeles Times, 17 Marzo 2011

There's a strange confluence of sciencefiction movies being released this season - six otherwordly films in six weeks. What's behind this phenomenon? A little investigation shows that although TV's "The X-Files" went off the air in 2002, the truth may be still out there - and we're not just talking about the flashlights and lab coats inherited by Fox's "Fringe." These half-dozen films might all be filed under X in one way or another. Consider:

"The Adjustment Bureau"
(March 4) The mysterious puppet-master of this well reviewed sci-fi/thriller quietly tend to the course of human history and have a penchant for JFK-era fashion and cryptic double talk - which remind us of celestial versions of the Cigarette Smoking Man and other shadowy figures from Chris Carter's sci-fi epic. But, really, it's the sexual tension and brainy dialogue between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt that take us back to the best part of the 'X-Files' - the crackling verve of those oh-so-special agents named Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson).

(March 18) The idea behind this Bradley Cooper, above, and Robert De Niro bio-thriller is a drug that takes the human brain to new heights of velocity and insight - but also leads to some nasty side effects and the attention of dark and powerful forces. Sounds like it have been a 10th-season episode of the 'X-Files' - which in its nine actual seasons had plenty of heigthened humans, pharmacological misadventures and laboratory morality lessons.

"I Am Number Four"
(Feb. 18) Sure, "Smallville" and "Twilight" inform the tone and the character vibes of this movie, but the subplots of a secret alien wars on Earth, discredited conspirancy theorists and extraterrestrial abduction were written with the basic alphabet of the old Fox series. Don't trust us, just listen to supporting character Sam (Callan McAuliffe), who moans: "My entire childhood was an episode of 'The X-Files' ". Alex Pettyfer, above, stars.

"Source Code"
(April 1) What if you took the do-it-again gimmick of "Groundhog Day" and superimposed it over a high stress sci-fi plot in which a bomber is on a path to destruction - and only one person in the blast radius can sense the time-loop repetition? You get "Source Code," the new bomb-on-a-train thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, or you get "Monday," the 1999 episode of "The X-Files" in which the explosives are part of a bank robbery gone bad. Jake, we feel for you - a lot of us "X-Files" fans are having déjà vu lately as well.

"Battle: Los Angeles"
(March 11) This movie looks like a mash-up of "Black Hawk Down," "Predator 2" and "Indipendence Day," but it has a real-world heritage that Fox Mulder would admire - in February 1942 the U.S. Military opened fire on UFOs above L.A. (by some police reports, there were 200 ships on the sky) without hitting anything. That event informed this modern-day invasion flick, with Aaron Eckhart, above, and Sony even assembled a UFO panel of experts to amp up the connection.

(March 18) The loony duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") star in this road-trip spoof (which they also wrote) about a pair of British genre fans who tour the UFO landmarks of America and meet the tile character, right, a bulb-headed alien (voice by an unavoidable Seth Rogen) who informs his new pals that he deserves credits for a certain Fox series: "Mulder," Paul confides, "was my idea!"



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